HHO rounds up of the best of the action from the Epsom classics

Aidan O’Brien became the only modern day trainer to saddle the first two in the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby in the same season on Saturday when he sent out High Chaparral to outstay Hawk Wing in the Vodafone Derby.

His total domination of the Epsom classic followed hot on the heels of his Guineas 1-2 with Rock Of Gibraltar and Hawk Wing.

It was the tenacious staying powers of High Chaparral that enabled O’Brien’s ‘second string’ to inflict a second classic defeat on Hawk Wing, the 9-4 favourite, and provide Europe’s star stallion Sadler’s Wells with his second successive Derby, following his son Galileo’s triumph 12 months ago.

Stable jockey Mick Kinane chose to partner Hawk Wing at the beginning of the week, only for the weather to conspire against him. The rains came and Hawk Wing, under a perfectly executed Derby ride, ran empty inside the final furlong.

He arrived at High Chaparral’s quarters at the two furlong marker poised to pounce but his powereful limbs had no more to give in such stamina-sapping conditions. In complete contrast, High Chaparral’s cause was helped by the softened ground, which put a premium on staying power.

Johnny Murtagh, hero of the 2000 Derby aboard Sinndar, was handed the ride on High Chaparral.

“When we got to the four furlong marker I thought I’d better put High Chaparral’s stamina into play,” said Murtagh. “I kicked down the outside and once I got to Philip Robinson (on Coshocton) and Jamie Spencer (on Moon Ballad) I knew it was going to take a special one to beat me.”

There was a yawning gap of 12 lengths back to third-placed Moon Ballad who ran his heart out from the front in Godolphin’s second colours.

The race was marred by the tragic fall of Coshocton, who broke his leg as he galloped into the final furlong. His chestnut body lay in front of the stands near the winning post until he was put down. His 41-year-old jockey Philip Robinson was lucky to escape serious injury.

Godolphin claims the Oaks

Following Kazzia’s win in 1,000 Guineas for the Maktoum family’s Godolphin operation, the German-bred filly led her Oaks rivals amerry dance to put herself in line for the final leg of the fillies’ Triple Crown, the St Leger at Doncaster in September.

Dismounting after their 1000 Guineas victory at Newmarket last month, Dettori was adamant: “She will love Epsom’s mile and a half and we’ll gallop them into the ground.”

Kazzia fulfilled her jockey’s prediction, though Quarter Moon – yes, you’ve guessed it, representing Coolmore – made rapid strides up the straight and failed by only half a length to catch her.

Read the full report from Epsom in this week’s Horse & Hound (13 June), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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